O’er Boughs Of Sodium Chloride
“D’you smell that sea air?! Intoxicating! Invigorating!”
The world melted around me; Gambit had (against my explicit wishes) removed the synaptic stimulator from my memory port. Torn from any artificial subconscious influence, the real world around me—the interior of a gas guzzlin’, corn shuckin’, genuine Canadian SUV—faded back into my vision.
How bleak this horrible situation is, that I am forced to coexist with members of the auto race, I thought to myself. “You are all slaves! Rise up, and take the gasoline for yourself!”
But the car was silent. Curse your primitive subservience, auto!
“We’re here,” Gambit called from the front. I looked over at AMOK, but the child seat our robotic cameraman was strapped into was forward-facing; I couldn’t see his faceplate. My gut told me that if he could talk to me right now, he’d lord his shotgun position over me. This insult won’t be soon forgotten, AMOK!
“So... these are the Salt Flats,” I chuckled, planting my right boot triumphantly on Utah soil. “They don’t look very appetizing!”
“I AM AMOK! I HAVE A PRESENT FOR YOU!”
Gambit reached for AMOK’s tray: “The name originates from a poor translation of an old Indian proverb, ‘Salt’s in the butter.’”
“Not only dat,” Gambit added as he slipped AMOK into a stroller, “but Salt was de Chickasaw moon-god.”
Gambit’s knowledge of native folklore was impressive, considering he’d spent almost half his life in a metal box eating food pellets. At least, that’s what I’d told people to try and explain his unfriendliness. Better they think him an uncivilized brute than a Grumpy Gus.
“Those must be the Elvi!” I waved at a cluster of Utahdians waiting for us on the tarmac. “So Gambit, are you looking forward to the big jump?”
He froze; AMOK’s baby carriage nearly collapsed under the inertia. “I’m not going up dere.”
“I don’t do heights.”
Sweet septic shock! Who could have predicted that Gambit, a mutant renown for his cruelty and origami/energy conversion skills, would not enjoy jumping from a plane surrounded by Elvis look-alikes?
This certainly puts a crimp in my sheers, my brain told me, quite truthfully. If only there was a way to- wait!
“Hey! Look at this!” From the null space in my infinite pants pockets, I generated (quite literally out of nothingness) a colorful clown puppet. “‘Look at me, look at my colorful buttons!’”
Lines of unease ran down Gambit’s cracked face as I waved the puppet back and forth. He obviously didn’t know what to make of it, he was too... too primitive to recognize my tactics.
“‘Now I’m over here! Now here... oh, look out!’”
Quickly, and with no regrets, I judo-chopped Gambit right in his face, knocking him over. As he tried to regain balance, I kicked his left knee, causing him to fall more efficiently. My aim was remarkable; the back of his skull hit AMOK’s casing exactly on the point, causing instant unconsciousness.
“Grab his legs!” I yelled at the camerabot. “The plane leaves in five minutes!”